You know what sort of person is wise? Typically it’s someone who’s been foolish before and doesn’t want to continue down that path (that would be me). Someone who’s fallen on their face more than a few times (me 🙁 ) but had the resilience to not stay there (me 🙂 ). Seriously. At some point in our lives we know we can and should do better.
So, wisdom does not come naturally, it has to be desired first and then pursued. At some point we all say, enough is enough. For me, that happened around my 40th birthday. Instead of celebrating being “40 and Fierce” , I decided to change the direction of my spiritual life. 40 is significant in the Bible when it comes to durations, it seems to be a time of testing, trial and development. When it comes to wisdom, the Bible says:
Fear of the lord is the foundation of wisdom.
Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.
Wisdom will multiply your days
and add years to your life.
If you become wise, you will be the one to benefit.
If you scorn wisdom, you will be the one to suffer.
The use of the word “fear” here doesn’t mean being scared – it’s a reverent respect, awe and love of God. So much so that you’re willing to live obediently and go about life His way. Like I said, there’s sooo much thoughtful guidance in the Bible, here’s a link to a 31-Day Proverbs reading plan. You can read it on your computer, your iPhone, your iPad so no excuses! 😉
God, through the Bible, has lots to say about wisdom. Whenever people ask me how to get started with the Bible I tell them to turn to Psalms and Proverbs. When it comes to wisdom specifically, Proverbs is your go to book, it’s ALL about wisdom. A few verses to start your day is a good thing. For me, the Bible isn’t just an old book, it’s nourishment for my spirit.
So here’s my practical take on how to become a wise person (based on my own missteps and God’s word):
Wise people are not rushed and are not rushed by others. Don’t be impulsive – you know the saying “fools rush in.” God doesn’t put you in stressed-out situations where it’s now or never; don’t succumb to that sort of pressure. You’ll know if it feels right or not. That doesn’t mean things can’t happen fast or in an instant; the difference is you aren’t feeling pressured by ultimatums. If something is meant to be, it will be; sooner or later.
Wise people consider potential consequences. How will this decision, action, whatever it is you’re about to do play out in the future? How’s it going to affect the people around you? Are you moving in a good direction? You’re never going to know all of the answers or have all of the info you need; but, generally speaking you have an idea what the consequences will be.
Wise people realize that the impact of decisions accumulate over time. Every decision you make sets your life in a direction. Think about it. Every decision counts, big and small. It all adds up. Three things you can truly control, your thoughts, your actions and your choices. It’s not about being smart – it’s being wise.
Wise people reflect – often and with honesty. This is just between you and you. Take some time to think about your life, what you could’ve done better, where you went wrong, where you were fabulous, where do you want to go next? Either way, you have to own it. Once that’s done – the key is to move on – please don’t wallow in regret. It’s a waste of your precious energy. Use your energy to make improvements and change the direction of your life.
Wise people have learned discernment and to listen to their gut. This takes some practice as most of us are in the habit of rationalizing away what we know deep in our spirit. Do you feel confused, unsure, unsettled? That’s a HUGE cautionary sign (from yourself!) that things are not right. Do you trust yourself yet? Start now. Don’t move forward, slow it down, or put a hold on things. You don’t have to explain anything to anyone. Do what you know in your heart honors your true self and honors God. Good decisions will give you a sense of peace – that’s how you know. Bad decisions, will stress you out and you may not even know why. Quiet yourself, stop chatting up your situation with anyone who will listen and listen to your inner spirit. That little voice is trying to whisper to you. Pray on it. Pray for discernment, clarity, pray for peace, pray for some guidance. Look for the truth. And then if you have to, just wait. Here’s a video from InTouch on the Power of Discernment which is awesome; I strongly encourage you to watch/listen to it.
You also need to KNOW this:
Wise people are intentional. You have to have some sort of vision for you life. Just existing day to day and maintaining status quo is no different than going backwards. Learn something new. Do something challenging. Develop a new skill. Set a goal. Don’t waste the time you’ve been given. Time is your most precious resource, what are you doing with it. The past is gone, the future is uncertain – so what are you doing NOW?
Wise people don’t hang around fools! That may sound a little flippant but it’s so true. Don’t waste your time hanging out or absorbing the energy of foolish people. God has lots to say about that too. So how do you define foolish people – that’s probably a personal choice but for me it’s toxic folks like whiners, complainers, critics, lazy people, shallow people, mean people, vindictive and bitter people, gossipers, impulsive people – you see where this is going. With folks like this, you can expect to go – no where! In fact, folks like this may take you backwards. If you see that in a friend or associate, my advice is to respectfully set some boundaries and limit your time with them. Doesn’t mean you have to cut folks off; but you have to protect yourself.
Wise people understand and respect God’s law that you reap what you sow. You must realize that any negativity you put out towards a person or the world, is coming back to you. This is as real as the law of gravity. I’ve seen it time and time again and it works both ways. But we’re human so we’re not going to like everyone or what they do. That’s our challenge, to bless them anyway and let them go on their way.
And when you get off course, and we ALL do…just change the direction. It’s truly that simple and it’s only as hard or as complicated as you make it. God loves us enough to give us a free will. Sometimes we use that free will and make not so great choices. As a result, we’re left with the consequences. But, be assured that God is willing to help us pick up the pieces but only if we ask. Since we can’t undo the past, the next best thing is to start making consistent choices (NOW) that put you where you want to be and put you in the middle of God’s will for your life. It’s NEVER too late. It’s only too late once your dead; so if you’re reading this you must still be living – so you still have a chance! 🙂
Hugs and Blessings!